NHS England announces £330m Federated Data Platform contract

NHS England has announced that the contract for the Federated Data Platform (FDP) has been awarded to a group led by Palantir Technologies UK with support from Accenture, PwC, NECS and Carnall Farrar, with up to £330 million to be invested over the contractual period of seven years.

The FDP, which aims to bring together existing NHS data by joining up information currently held in separate systems, is to be rolled out from spring 2024, with an investment of at least £25.6 million expected over the first contract year. Initial focus is set on the five key NHS priorities – elective recovery, care coordination, vaccination and immunisation, population health management, and supply chain management.

Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS national director for transformation, shares that following the awarding of the contract this week, “there will be a six-month implementation period where products supported by the current platform will be transitioned across.”

With regards to data privacy, NHSE emphasises that no company involved in the FDP will be able to access health and care data without explicit permission from the NHS; the contract “expressly forbids use of patient data for commercial gain”. All data within the platform is under NHS control and will only be used for direct care and planning, with no access for research purposes.

Additionally, the FDP will be the first NHS use case of privacy enhancing technology (NHS-PET), described by NHSE as “a nationally assured and funded privacy tool to benefit all NHS organisations”, designed to help “ensure that the NHS can meet the highest technical standards of security for managing patient data, supported by robust information governance and data protection processes”. In a separate procurement process for NHS-PET, IQVIA has been awarded a three-year contract.

NHSE goes on to share examples of benefits seen by pilot projects utilising the new data-sharing approach; for example, since introducing the system, North Tees and Hartlepool Trust has reported reduction in long-term stays by 36 percent despite increased demand.

Ongoing public engagement is planned throughout the FDP’s contact period, including setting up a ‘Check and Challenge Group’ which will include stakeholders such as the Patients Association and National Data Guardian. Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, states that for the platform to succeed, it will be “crucial that the public continue to be engaged with, and that any concerns they have on the sharing of their data are addressed meaningfully. Likewise, government and the wider NHS will need to ensure that there are adequate numbers of staff working in digital and patient data roles.”

Read the news in full here.

Earlier in the year, HTN reported on the statement from National Data Guardian Dr Nicola Byrne on the FDP programme, which highlighted public attitudes to data use and commercial involvement, the value expected from the platform, integrity of decision making, providing credible assurance about the relationship with a supplier, and thoughts on transparency.

We also covered a paper from The Faculty of Clinical Informatics which explored the context and future of the FDP, including what the platform is expected to look like and a list of questions requiring answers to ensure safe and efficient implementation.